Published: 06:00, 18 July 2020
Steve King says his Dartford team are champing at the bit to get their play-off campaign underway.
The Darts warmed up for Sunday’s eliminator match at Slough Town with a friendly win over National League Boreham Wood.
A goal from Charlie Sheringham sealed a 1-0 victory and they won a penalty shoot-out competition too as goalkeeper Alhaji Sesay starred with three spot-kick saves.
It’s been a good build-up to the match for manager King, who is now preparing his side for their first proper match since a 3-0 win over Chelmsford City on March 14.
“The lads were brilliant,” said King, following their win at Meadow Park against a side who are fighting for a place in the Football League during their own play-off campaign.
“They are champing at the bit and it has opened my eyes to a few players who may not have started or featured but they have possibly come into the frame now, people have done themselves no harm.
“The result will help breed confidence and it helps with the winning mentality that we had, but the result didn’t matter, we just wanted to get through with no injuries and to try and play some decent football and show what we can do.”
King played two different shapes and named different sides in each half of the match. It means players are going into Sunday’s game without a competitive 90 minutes since that win over Chelmsford that left them sixth in National League South.
Slough’s preparations have been the same, however, so it will be a fitness challenge both teams have to overcome. Their opponents were beaten 3-2 by Brackley Town who are competing in the National League North play-offs.
The winners of Sunday's match meet Havant & Waterlooville next Saturday.
For the Darts boss, he has been putting his players through a tough fitness challenge, which includes a routine called the Bronco test, a version of the bleep test. It’s an endurance challenge which sees players make shuttle runs at 20, 40 and 60 metres five times as quickly as possible.
Cameron Brodie smashed it with a time of 3mins 30secs while the rest of the squad have now managed to get under the four-minute mark as fitness levels rapidly improve.
Dartford’s players and staff have been undergoing regular Covid-19 tests and nobody has tested positive.
They were due another round of tests this week, ahead of their weekend match, which now kicks off behind closed doors at 1.30pm, moving to an earlier start as all play-off matches are to be streamed live.
King’s side were in good form before the halt in play. He arrived as manager with the task of keeping them up but a tremendous run saw them climb into the play-off places.
He accepts all form is now out of the window, however.
“Yes, 100% it is,” he said. “If we had continued the season and went into the play-offs I think we would have been favourites to go through, we were flying.
“But Slough are capable of beating us, we are capable of beating them. Dorking lost the last six out of seven league games and then went to Notts County (at the weekend) and won 3-1.
“You can’t call it, it’s on the day, everyone has players capable of winning matches.”
More by this authorLuke Cawdell
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